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Investigators Seek Clues in Fatal Package Bombing

March 20, 1990

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Investigators looked for clues today in the wreckage of an apartment where a shoebox-sized package bomb killed a man who had just moved to Florida a week before.

The victim, 70-year-old Sherwin William Finlay, was returning to his apartment late Monday with his wife and daughter when the blast occurred at about 8 p.m.

The family stepped over the package in front of the apartment and went inside their first-floor apartment, authorities said.

″He came back (out), picked it up and it exploded,″ said police spokesman Steve Weintraub.

According to witnesses, the package resembled a shoebox and was wrapped in brown paper. It apparently was not sent through the mail, Weintraub said, adding ″you can’t tell - there’s no package left.″

The blast was powerful enough to blow out the roof overhang of the two- story apartment building, Weintraub said.

Willi Ellison, agent in charge of the Jacksonville office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said the bomb was ″more or less a homemade device.″

He said the remains of the device would be sent to the ATF laboratory in Atlanta for analysis.

Investigators do not believe the explosion is related to recent mail bombings in Alabama, Georgia and Jacksonville, which led to two deaths.

″At this point, I don’t think there is a connection but we’re looking into all aspects,″ Ellison said.

Authorities knew of no suspects or motive for the bombing. The FBI was investigating but had no comment late Monday.

Finlay’s wife, Dorothy, 67, and 35-year-old daughter Gay Lynn Meek were not injured. The daughter was from Illinois, said Ellison. He said the Finlays were from Missouri, but he didn’t know exactly where.

″They’ve been here since Dec. 1,″ said Weintraub. ″I don’t know if they’re down here to see if they wanted to live here or what.″

According to the yearbook of the Missouri Highway Department, Finlay was a highway engineer from Gravois Mills, Mo., who retired 10 years ago.

The family reportedly moved into the apartment complex about a week ago and neighbors knew little about them.

Philip Brown, who lived in a nearby apartment, said he was in his living room when he heard the blast.

″I ran outside and all I could see was smoke,″ he said. ″That’s when I saw someone lying under the stairs and heard a woman screaming.″

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